Melbourne Victory vs Western Sydney Wanderers
KO: 7:30pm AEST, Friday 18 October 2019
Venue: Marvel Stadium
Round 2 of the 2019/20 A-League season commences on Friday night with Melbourne Victory hosting Western Sydney Wanderers at Marvel Stadium. The Victory, coming off a dire goalless draw against crosstown rivals Melbourne City, will be hoping to pick up their first 3 points of the Marco Kurz era.
A Victory attack spearheaded by frontman Ola Toivonen will be searching for their first goal of the season on Friday night, with ex-Victory wingback Daniel Georgievski returning to Melbourne wearing the red and black. Fellow wingback Tarek Elrich will miss the game after he sustained an injury against the Mariners.
Victory will once again be without key centre back Tim Hoogland who was absent in last week’s derby with a quad injury. Hoogland will spend up to 6 weeks on the sidelines; a huge blow to Victory’s title challenge.
The Wanderers this week have announced the signing of Nicolai Müller from Bundesliga outfit Eintracht Frankfurt. Müller will join ex-teammate Alexander Meier at the Wanderers but will be unavailable for the clash. Meier struggled on his debut on Saturday, however, coach Markus Babbel believes there is more to come from the marquee man.
Will the Wanderers upset the returning Northern Terrace? Let’s wait and see…
Players to watch: Ola Toivonen (Melbourne Victory), Alexander Meier (Western Sydney Wanderers)
Prediction: Melbourne Victory 1-0 Western Sydney Wanderers
Western United vs Perth Glory
KO: 5:00pm AEST, Saturday 19 October 2019
Venue: GMHBA Stadium
Western United will play their first ever A-League home game at GMHBA Stadium in Geelong against premiers Perth Glory, with the match broadcast live on ABC. Western United put in a convincing performance on Sunday afternoon with a marginal 1-0 victory in Wellington.
Besart Berisha yet again stole the show as he marked his return to the A-League with the only goal of the game. However, perhaps the most exciting news for United fans is that Alessandro Diamanti showed glimpses of his best in Round 1. The Italian may be the difference between the two sides come Saturday.
The visitors conceded late in injury time to Brisbane Roar in their opener last Sunday. Glory looked assured in the first half, but they struggled to gather momentum in the second and were deservedly punished. Tony Popovic will be hoping for a more consistent performance this time round from the Glory. Marquee man Bruno Fornaroli will be hoping to bag his first A-League goal in Perth colours after a lacklustre display.
All eyes will be on Western United to see how they perform against a Glory side which only conceded 23 times in the league last season.
Players to watch: Alessandro Diamanti (Western United), Bruno Fornaroli (Perth Glory)
Prediction: Western United 1-1 Perth Glory
Central Coast Mariners vs Newcastle Jets
KO: 7:30pm AEST, Saturday 19 October 2019
Venue: Central Coast Stadium
It may be Round 2, but the Newcastle Jets kick off their season in the F3 derby on Saturday night. Newcastle fans remain optimistic for a successful season and will be eager to see new signings Nick Fitzgerald and Abdiel Arroyo integrate into the team.
Arroyo, who has played 45 times for Panama, will want to hit the ground running for the Jets against a Central Coast side who were unlucky in defeat against Western Sydney. Newcastle Herald journalist James Gardiner told Breakfast on FNR this morning that “there’s no doubt that Arroyo will start” on Saturday evening.
A standout for the Mariners last season, Matthew Millar has switched allegiances to the Jets this season and is expected to receive a hostile reception in Gosford.
The Mariners will be hoping the return of Matt Simon (suspension) and Ruon Tongyik (injury) will respectively add firepower upfront and aid their defensive woes. Central Coast’s chances will be heavily reliant on the performances of Tommy Oar and Daniel De Silva who have instrumental roles in Alen Stajcic’s system.
Players to watch: Daniel De Silva (Central Coast Mariners), Abdiel Arroyo (Newcastle Jets)
Prediction: Central Coast Mariners 0-2 Newcastle Jets
Melbourne City FC vs Adelaide United
KO: 4pm AEST, Sunday 20 October 2019
Venue: AAMI Park
Melbourne City will be boosted by the return of Jamie Maclaren after the striker scored four goals in two games on Socceroos duty. City put in a solid performance against Melbourne Victory but lacked end product, and City manager Erick Mombaerts emphasised the fact his side were missing their best forward both before and after the game.
Connor Metcalfe looked a revelation in midfield and City fans will be hopeful his combination with Josh Brillante will propel the club to a successful season. French attacking midfielder Florin Berenguer will miss a second successive week with a hamstring injury.
Adelaide will be without Ryan Strain (suspension) and Jordan Elsey (knee injury) for the first of a double header against City and are hopeful the pair will be ready for the FFA Cup Final on Wednesday. Coach Gertjan Verbeek will be forced to reshuffle his defence with Michael Marrone expected to slot into the right back vacancy.
James Troisi may make his debut for the Reds after he was included in their extended matchday squad and Riley McGree will face the side he scored 8 times for last season. The potential combination of both Troisi and McGree is an exciting prospect for Adelaide fans making the trip to AAMI Park this weekend.
Players to watch: Jamie Maclaren (Melbourne City FC), Al Hassan Toure (Adelaide United)
Prediction: Melbourne City FC 2-0 Adelaide United
Sydney FC vs Wellington Phoenix
KO: 6pm AEST, Sunday 20 October 2019
Venue: Leichhardt Oval
Sydney FC go into Round 2 full of confidence after an Adam Le Fondre brace and Ryan McGowan header steered the Sky Blues to a thrilling victory in Adelaide. With the inclusion of both Rhyan Grant and Andrew Redmayne in this week’s squad, Sydney head into the match at near full strength.
Michael Zullo will miss the game along with Wellington Phoenix’s new signing Gary Hooper. The former Sheffield Wednesday and Celtic striker, who has scored 186 career goals, will have his debut delayed until at least next weekend.
The key battle on the field will see Phoenix Captain Steven Taylor tasked with handling star strikers Adam Le Fondre and Kosta Barbarouses. The high-profile forwards are a mouthwatering prospect for the Sydney FC faithful and Taylor will need to be on top of his game to suppress the Sky Blues’ attacking power.
Players to watch: Kosta Barbarouses (Sydney FC), Steven Taylor (Wellington Phoenix)
Predictions: Sydney FC 3-0 Wellington Phoenix
Brisbane Roar – BYE